December 13, 2013
SUNDAY COLUMNISTs’ ROUND-UPMonday, August 19, 2013
Views and opinions from yesterday’s newspapers
Clarín’s Eduardo van der Kooy on blind politics:
According to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the opposition candidates are mere puppets of the economic powers. The ultra-Kirchnerite youth group La Cámpora says that “aristocracy is cheering and drinking champagne.” Kirchnerite Senator Aníbal Fernández said that he “doesn’t give a damn” about the votes of the opposition.
Kirchnerite Lower House representative Carlos Kunkel said that Tigre Mayor Sergio Massa looks like “the head of the landowners.” And last but not least, Deputy Economy Minister Axel Kicillof said that he is “very optimistic” about the economy. The government has given yet another display of its unparalleled ability to deny reality.
The blow from the primaries turned out to be devastating. The Kirchnerite apparatus and stories were not enough to hide an evident state of ruin. The political theory based on philosopher Ernesto Laclau adopted by Fernández de Kirchner is starting to collapse.
Populism cannot subsist with 29 percent of the votes. The strategy of permanent confrontation and the polarization of society work only if the ruling party has a solid majority. To persist on it even in its weakest times shows the government’s stubbornness, or perhaps, its subconscious desire for political suicide.
But the government’s real problem is the impact on the president’s power. She was responsible for the design of the electoral ticket and she led the campaign, especially in Buenos Aires province. Her authority is on the line and the continuity of her project is in doubt. Even her most fanatical supporters are beginning to hesitate.
Pagina 12’s Horacio Verbitsky ‘on the numbers have spoken’:
In the recent primaries, the Victory Front (FpV) and its allies improved the results they received in the 2009 legislative elections. The party increased its lead over the runner-up and was confirmed as the most important national option. In 2009 it beat the coalition led by the Radical (UCR) Party by less than one percent, last week the Victory Front beat the dissident peronists by 5.2 percent. The gap has widened.
The model has been able to maintain throughout an entire decade around 30 percent of support from the electorate. Javier Zelaznik, political science and international studies professor at the Di Tella University, studied the results of the election and compared them to 2009. He compared the total votes for each major party — Victory Front, UCR, and PRO — in each district. He faced a few obstacles such as whether to include UNEN’s votes in Buenos Aires City under the UCR category considering the front includes Radical, Peronist, Communist, and Socialist candidates.
Zelaznik took into account the national results of the PASO election, the Victory Front leading with 31.1 percent followed by the dissident Peronists with 25.9 percent and the UCR with 25 percent. Comparing this year’s results to those of 2009, Zelaznik concluded that the government received almost one percent more of the vote while the UCR lost nearly 7 percent and the dissident Peronists gained 4.6 percent.
It is clear that this election was not a national defeat. Perhaps the government lost in some specific districts, but, overall, it still won.
La Nación’s Joaquín Morales Solá on conspiracies:
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is unable to understand how a mayor defeated her. To make matters worse, current polls indicate that Sergio Massa would beat her in a presidential election if one were held today. That’s why the president decided to pull the electoral competition out of the political arena and drag it into the terrain of the powerful interests.
The president has attempted to impose the notion that her campaign fought against the vile corporations of industry and unions. That is the only battle worth fighting. The president will never acknowledge she was beaten by a small-time mayor who rose in politics under her leadership. The tale of an alleged conspiracy against her helps explain the reasons for her stubborn and predictable weakness. For six years she ruled with the pre-democratic idea that only majorities are right. Now that she is the leader of a minority, her power cannot be sustained.
The conspiracy theory further damaged the relationship between Massa and Buenos Aires Governor Daniel Scioli. Jorge Yoma, a politician with close ties to Scioli, explained that some Peronists were looking for a substitute president to replace Fernández de Kirchner in the event that Martín Insaurralde — her top candidate during the primaries — suffered a humiliating defeat.
It can therefore be argued that Daniel Scioli did not choose the wrong side, but rather he became a martyr for institutional stability. That is the explanation Buenos Aires province officials like to espouse to explain the governor’s involvement in a foreseeable defeat that could have been avoided.
Massa resents this theory because it portrays him as an undemocratic conspirator. He, like all the other members of the opposition, does not want Fernández de Kirchner to leave the presidency before the end of her term, but wants her to fulfil the necessary — and sometimes unpleasant — duties of a departing head of state.